True North Bricks’ Space Week concludes today with a look at the largest set in the 2022 City NASA inspired lineup. Those of you who’ve been following along all week know that Space Week celebrates the launch of the Artemis I mission. Four LEGO® Minifigures boarded the shuttle and are now on their way to the Moon! The rocket that blasted them through Earth’s atmosphere is readily recognizable in today’s review set. For our final Space Week 2022 entry, we’re looking at the Rocket Launch Center (60351).
Rocket Launch Center Summary
- NAME: Rocket Launch Center
- SET #: 60351
- THEME: City
- COST: $199.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 1010
- MINIFIGURES: 7
- RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2022
Rocket Launch Center Quick Review
- VALUE: 61% (Expensive bricks and not a lot of build time for a really high price tag.)
- BUILD: 60% (Great bricks and launch tower, but the build was mostly underwhelming.)
- MINIFIGURES: 80% (Nice characters, but not enough of them for a set this size.)
- ENTERTAINMENT: 70% (The set lacks focus and tries to be too many things.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 68% (Passable set.)
ROCKET LAUNCH CENTER (60351) REVIEW
As the largest of the 2022 City space sets, Rocket Launch Center is also the most expensive. It costs $199.99 in Canada. Additionally, you only get 1010 bricks for that price. The resulting cost/brick is $0.198. It is right up there with Lunar Space Station and Lunar Research Base in terms of per-brick value. As a theme, City tends to cost a lot, averaging $0.18/brick. Therefore, a high cost/brick is not unexpected here. However, LEGO® sets in general average around $0.14/brick in my experience. Sadly, Rocket Launch Center does not score very well in this category, earning 67%.
Rocket Launch Center took me two hours and 15 minutes to assemble. At full price, the resulting cost/minute is $1.48. Sadly, this set does not give you a lot of build time for the price. Even by City-theme standards, it is expensive. Comparatively, the True North Bricks average for the theme is $1.08/minute. Compared to LEGO® sets in general, Rocket Launch Center really bombs. Our average across all LEGO® themes is about $0.84/minute. There’s no way to sugarcoat this one… Rocket Launch Center fails in the build time category, earning 55%. Averaging this with the cost/brick score gives an overall value rating of 61%.
Rocket Launch Center includes a number of rarer elements. 35 bricks appear in five or fewer sets. Additionally, 11 are completely unique to this set. Those include a number of new Minifigure parts. We also see a white version of the 6M Shell with Shaft, also known as the dome quarter section. Previously, we saw that piece in the Lunar Research Base. It was one of the highlights of that set. I can’t say I like the solid white one as much, but it remains a neat piece. As you’d expect, you also acquire a number of fuselage pieces in white and dark orange. We have not seen some of those since the Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control set from 2019. The parts are interesting, but I am not as thrilled about them as I was with Lunar Research Base.
In terms of actual buildable items, this set falls into the same trap as many other City sets. There are too many small builds. You put together a crashed meteorite, a drone, a meteorite retrieval truck, a lunar rover, an observatory, a launch command center, a launch pad, and the rocket proper. I did not need the truck or rover. Neither looks particularly good. A set like this does not need two undetailed four-wheeled vehicles. The crashed meteorite is interesting through, especially since the meteorite halves come in a new color.
Rocket Launch Center has too many under-detailed little builds.
Launch control and the observatory strike me as missed opportunities. The buildings do not connect in any way. Additionally, neither one is particularly detailed. A set called “Launch Center” needs to focus on just that. I like getting more of those dome pieces, but the observatory doesn’t work well as such. The dome on top rotates too freely. Additionally, you have to fold down a full quarter of the dome to reveal the telescope inside. It is not very realistic. The telescope does move using a worm gear though. A garage rests under the observatory. I appreciate getting more garage door pieces, especially in transparent blue. However, the observatory is just an assemblage of interesting bricks for me. I don’t like the design much.
Launch control fares a little better. You get more of the shell with forks elements that make up the windows on the Lunar Space Station. Additionally, the build has a neat play feature for space fans. You build a screen section with a moving rocket inside. It uses stickers, but the idea is fun. This building has a little more detail than the observatory. However, it does not offer much more than previous launch commands we’ve seen. Sadly, this is another flop for this set.
The builds have interesting bricks, but the details underwhelm.
What do I like about the Rocket Launch Center? The rocket is alright. If you are excited about the Artemis Missions, this set represents the closest representation to date of the SLS launch system. The exterior looks a lot like the actual ship. However, the scale is all off for Minifigures. The main booster houses cargo as well, which is not true to form. But one of the cargo spaces contains a fun Octan fuel tank. The top of the rocket does have room for a Minifigure astronaut as well. However, there are no windows. You seal minifigs into the fuselage.
The best thing about Rocket Launch Center is the launch pad. It looks fantastic. Additionally, we get those fun 1x6x5 lattice wall elements in Earth blue for the first time. The tower also has a functional elevator for Minifigures. The lift runs along rail pieces previously seen only in the Daily Bugle and the latest iteration of the Batcave. Sadly, once Minifigures reach the top, the rocket itself has no doors… All that to say, the launch pad is the highlight of the set.
On the plus side, the launch tower looks amazing.
Sadly, I have to say that I feel rather underwhelmed with Rocket Launch Center. In my opinion, it is an expensive brick box. With that said, you get some great bricks. If it came down to this set or Lunar Research Base, I would take the Research Base hands down. I would probably buy two Lunar Space Stations over this set as well… I will pass this set because I love the launch tower. The SLS rocket looks pretty good too. I rate this build at 60%.
The set includes seven Minifigures. All of them have front and back torso printing. Additionally, two have leg printing, and three have double-sided faces. Interestingly, both astronauts in the set wear the orange uniform from the LEGO® Education/NASA Build to Launch collaboration. I also appreciate that one of the Minifigure head prints is completely new to this set, as is one of the torsos. Many others are new to this wave of space sets. I am a fan of science and space themed sets, so I really like these characters. On top of that, you get some great accessories. You acquire a mug, five printed computer bricks, a parrot, a magnifying glass, a printed keyboard tile, three printed single-celled organism tiles, a wrench, a hammer, a meteorite/geode, a crystal, two astronaut helmets, and two oxygen tanks. I rate these minifig designs at 91%.
Seven Minifigures in a set containing 1010 pieces is not a great number of characters for a City theme set. In my experience, City sets normally clock in around 82 bricks/fig, and Rocket Launch Center sits at 144 bricks/fig. However, compared to LEGO® sets in general, it fares much better. Across all themes, our average is around 173 bricks/fig. Considering both these comparisons, I rate the brick-to-fig ratio in this set at 68%. This set includes a passable number of minifigs, but could use one or two more. Averaging this score with the design score gives an overall Minifigure rating of 80%.
Was I entertained by Rocket Launch Center (60351)? Sadly, not as much as other sets in the 2022 space offering. I liked both Lunar Space Station and Lunar Research Base more. As mentioned earlier, I like the actual rocket in this set, and I love the launch tower. The rest of the set tries to be too many things. The observatory could have been one set on its own. That would bring the cost of Rocket Launch Center down. Additionally, designers could put more detail into the buildings with two smaller sets. However, kids will probably enjoy Rocket Launch Center for what it is: a really cool rocket. Not only that, it is something they can see on TV and read about online. For my purposes, I wish the set was more focused. I give it an entertainment score of 70%.
OVERALL SCORE: 68%
Personally, I found Rocket Launch Center (60351) a bit disappointing. The launch center gets lost in a mishmash of undetailed builds and an overly high price tag. As simply a rocket and launch tower, this set would be amazing. If you must, throw in the launch command as well, but with a little more detail. The LEGO® Group did not do the observatory build justice by cramming it into a set that did not need it. And all those little builds? Scrap them and use the bricks to build up the main buildings. I like the rocket, launch tower, and Minifigures. But those are not worth $200. If you want this set, my recommendation is to wait for a sale. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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2 thoughts on “Rocket Launch Center (60351) Review”
Personally, I think this is the best one of the four City Space sets this year.
Of course the rocket is out of scale with minifigures – the real thing is over 300 feet tall, what do you expect? Otherwise the rocket looks really good and is just about perfect for play. It’s much improved in both build and looks from the 2019 version of the SLS, in set 60228.
The launch tower is a wonderfully complex build that looks surprisingly accurate and has some neat play features, but it could still use some refinement. The yellow liftarm securing the top of the pivoting crew access arm should be a stud or two higher to give more the astronauts more headroom, there should be stairs or a ladder at the bottom to help the crew get on the lift, and the lift string obscures access to the intermediate levels of the launch tower.
Both four-wheeled vehicles make sense to me. You need cargo to put in both bays of the rocket, and the lower bay is already filled with a fuel tank, so you put something different in the top bay for variety. What do you put there? Well, it’s a moon rocket, so you put a little moon rover for the astronauts to use when they get there, just a cute little thing like the little old Classic Space rovers. (Bonus points for the Classic Space logos on the spacesuits.) Then the larger vehicle makes perfect sense as a little utility vehicle for moving around the launch center to fix things, carry the astronauts to the launch pad, and move around the meteorite. Just about every Town/City space launch set has had a utility vehicle like that.
The mission control building is very bland and simple, but it’s roomy, it makes sense in the context of the playset, and it has clear design unity with the Lunar Space Station. I agree that the observatory and garage unit is disappointing and is unnecessary to the launch complex, but I think it’s a good use of the quarter dome pieces.
It is pretty overpriced by part count, part mass, and build time, but not so much as a playset. There’s so many more play opportunities in this set than in, say, a $170 Star Wars set like the Justifier. As for myself, I found the Lunar Research Base very disappointing and lacking in play value for its high price, but I like the Rocket Launch Center a lot. So pretty much exactly the opposite of your conclusions.
I really like your review style though. It’s very direct and your criteria are very clear. Keep these reviews coming, please.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I wouldn’t say our opinions are exactly the opposite of each other… I think we agree on a lot of things about this set based on your comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the set and took the time to provide a second opinion here 🙂
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